Boxes of coloring books, markers, scissors and more were handed out to preschoolers at The Salvation Army in Grand Haven last week, along with the opportunity to work with local teachers to practice important developmental skills.
Joni Bennett, who teaches Young Fives at Mary A. White Elementary School, helped show the kids what’s in the boxes and how to use each item. As Bennett rushed around to stack and pack boxes, she said the supplies are crucial tools for teaching basic skills — such as cutting and tracing — that preschoolers need to be successful going into kindergarten.
The Tri-Cities College Access Network, Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Grand Haven Schools Foundation and Salvation Army worked together to determine that kids ages 3-4 need to be enrolled in preschool, and that their families need to know how to help their kids build motor skills.
Kate Augustyn, director of special education for the Grand Haven school district, said about 100 families in the area have age-appropriate children not enrolled in preschool. The Salvation Army’s goal is to shrink that number as much as possible, or at least get the conversation going about preparation for kindergarten.
“We’re lucky to give preschool experiences,” Augustyn said.
Tri-Cities College Access Network Director Kim McLaughlin said the Grand Haven school district’s Head Start, Great Start Readiness and Preschool Development scholarship programs all offer children the chance to attend preschool at no cost.
The leftover boxes will be put to good use in school buildings who need the extra supplies, officials said.